I Got a CBD Facial—This Is What Happened to My Complexion Afterwards
Since it’s anti-inflammatory, CBD is being infused into skin-care products so that it can soothe irritation. So, as one does, I started hoarding each and every CBD-spiked beauty product I could get my hands on—you know, to have a chilled-out, un-inflamed complexion—but then I saw that CBD facials are becoming a thing, and so I had to give one of these babies a test drive.
Celebrity facialist and skin pro Ildi Pekar is offering a CBD Vibe Facial, and it’s meant to “vibe you out,” she says. Pekar is no stranger to CBD, either—the beauty expert already sells a CBD-laced tissue repair facial serum and sleeping mask with CBD oil, so she’s a big fan of its benefits. Dermatologists don’t necessarily hate it either. “CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits on skin,” says Rosemarie Ingleton, MD, a New York-based dermatologist. “So it might calm any rashes that you might be having, and should help control free radical formation in your skin.”
Despite the clear perks for your complexion, Pekar tells me that this CBD facial is so much more than a facial. “I see what CBD does for the skin, the mind, and the body,” she says when I arrive at her spa in New York. “I would call it more of a treatment, because you’re going to see that it clears your mind a well as your face.” Sign me up.
Photo: Stocksy/Liliya Rodnikova
It all starts with CBD. “Do you want to take some CBD tincture?” Pekar asks me as soon as I strip down and get onto the treatment bed. “It’s going to make you relaxed, but not sleepy—just comfortably relaxed.” I proceed to put some salted caramel-flavored oil under my tongue to initiate the chill. Soon after, Pekar’s massaging my back with a CBD lotion to create energy flow and relax the body, releasing tension. I’m very into this and am immediately feeling calm despite running late through the streets of Midtown Manhattan on a very rainy day merely 10 minutes before this.
Next comes a peel. “I’m starting with a quick vitamin C peel to ensure your skin handles dryness,” says Pekar as she slathers a deliciously-smelling product onto my skin, followed by some CBD oil. She then uses a number of different high-tech machines on me. There’s the micro-stimulation, which is massaged all over me to stimulate the lymph nodes and release toxins from my body.
By this point—after feeling the soothing, lymphatic flow-inducing vibrations—I’m feeling really, really good. Like, it was as if I was floating on a cloud of no worries and utter relaxation. I’m not surprised when Pekar says she’s been giving this CBD treatment quite frequently. “I think this takes the anxiety and stress away,” she says as she applies more CBD product onto my skin. “I think people are realizing it feels so good after—that it’s not like a facial. Your skin looks great but you feel great and that makes a big difference. It makes you feel like you just went on a really good vacation.”
She’s spot on. An hour has gone by and the treatment has completed, so I take my time getting up from the table where the magic has happened. When I look in the mirror, my skin is radiant—I haven’t seen it glow this hard in a long time. But equally as exciting is the fact that I’ve forgotten about all my troubles, from the lingering items on my to-do list to the stress of figuring out what to eat for dinner. I’m fully rejuvenated, from the inside-out, and I feel like a million bucks.
This post was originally published on October 19, 2019; updated on July 31, 2020.
This is what happened when Lily Allen tried a CBD facial
The momentum of CBD has been growing for some time now. First it made its way into food and drink, and then it began to trickle into the beauty industry.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive part of the marijuana plant. It’s known for its healing, soothing and calming properties and is effective because we, as humans, have in-built receptors for cannabinoids. That means, when applied topically, it’s able to get to work straight away.
The ingredient first started being used within skincare products a couple of years ago (this is what happened when Stylist’s beauty editor only used CBD-infused products for a week), then it has slowly made its way into things like deodorant (that can help clear eczema) and has gradually been getting more and more popular since.
Now, CBD is being incorporated into facials up and down the country, and at the request this week’s guest editor Lily Allen, we sent her and three other Stylist team members to try them out.
Here’s how they got on…
The classic CBD facial
Tested by: Lily Allen, guest editor
What is it? A 45-minute facial that starts with a CBD-infused coffee. The treatment incorporates cleansing, a mask and an extended massage using CBD oils which help soothe skin. It promises to give dull skin a much-needed boost, leaving it looking healthy, glowing and radiant.
Our verdict: “I love a facial. I’d had a chemical peel the week before I went for this one and for some reason I had quite a bad reaction to it. My skin wasn’t flaking like it sometimes can after a more extreme peel, but my face was quite sore. CBD is known for its healing properties, and this facial really helped to soothe my skin and clear up the after-effects of the peel. The whole experience was very relaxing – it started off with a cleanse, there was some exfoliation and then the therapist applied the CBD oil. I enjoyed it and it really calmed my skin down.”
Young LDN CBD Facial, £75 (youngldn.com)
The cleansing CBD facial
Tested by: Meena Alexander, sub-editor
What is it? A cleansing and exfoliating facial with lymphatic drainage and microdermabrasion – a non-invasive procedure that helps remove layers of dead skin cells to reveal more radiant skin.
Our verdict: “CBD is said to have anti-inflammatory, soothing benefits, but I’ve always been sceptical. To begin, a cleanser, harsh exfoliator and 15-minute hyaluronic acid mask, all infused with hemp, left my skin feeling warm and very tingly. Then Kannaway Pure Gold Full Spectrum Hemp Oil was massaged into every nook and cranny of my face for 20 minutes, and it was pure bliss. Just as I was drifting off, a serum and moisturiser (more hemp) were smoothed onto my skin and I was presented with my before and after pictures: an undeniable rosy glow, smoother cheeks than I’ve had since the age of five and a drowsily content smile in the latter. Sold.”
Blush + Blow CBD Detox Microdermabrasion Facial, £150 (blushandblowlondon.com)
The sensitive skin CBD facial
Tested by: Helen Bownass, entertainment director
What is it? An anti-inflammatory version of the signature Cowshed facial, it uses MariPharm’s CBD-infused cream. The aim is to help calm irritated, inflamed skin and address conditions like hormonal acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.
Our verdict: “I have little patches of eczema on my face and because I cycle a lot I get quite dry skin. So the treatment started with a really deep cleanse before the facalist had a thorough look at my skin and told me where some of the problem areas were. Next, she did a steam and extraction. Then the mask was put on, which was infused with CBD, before finishing with a facial massage and moisturiser. My skin felt lovely afterwards – calmer and softer – and although I don’t think it got rid of my eczema, I noticed my foundation has been much easier to apply. And it’s worth mentioning: that night, I slept so deeply.”
Cowshed CBD facial, £95, (cowshed.com)
The tailored CBD facial
Tested by: Ava Welsing- Kitcher, junior beauty writer
What is it? Using entirely natural, vegan and cruelty-free products, this facial is billed as the UK’s first CBD facial tailored to your individual needs.
Our verdict: “Using handmade products, the facial started with a Himalayan salt scrub before deeply massaging my face, arms and neck with CBD oil. I slipped into a deep meditative state as lymphatic drainage techniques helped to gently push the oil deep into my skin. After a night cream, lip scrub and balm, I rose from the table and my skin felt smooth, soothed, and lit from within – plus, I was the most relaxed I’ve ever been after a facial. Usually my skin reacts to applied oil by producing more oil (and spots), but my skin was still on its best behaviour days later. For relaxation, de-stressing and nourishment, this facial definitely covers all corners.”